Police cars smashed and shops looted as rioters ambush Hackney Central
PUBLISHED: 18:38 08 August 2011 | UPDATED: 11:58 09 August 2011
Rioters smashed up police cars and looted shops in a bitter stand-off against police as Hackney Central was brought to a standstill this afternoon.
At least three police cars on the busy junction of Mare Streets and Amhurst Road were ambushed by angry mobs who grabbed public bins, pieces of wood and bottles to cause as much destruction as possible.
Riot officers stormed south down Mare Street in an attempt to disperse the crowds, which included young families and elderly residents.
The scenes, described as “mayhem” by passersby, came less than two days after the Tottenham riots spurred by the death of Mark Duggan who was shot by police during an attempted arrest on Thursday.
Shops in Mare Street had been warned that riots were on the way as early as that morning, according to witnesses.
One Hackney woman, who did not want to be named, said: “The cops have been going round telling the shop keepers to shut up shop, telling them there’s going to be a riot so everyone’s been getting out on the streets to see what’s happening. I’m not surprised this has happened at all.
“It’s young people – they want to know what’s going on in their community.”
It is thought that a group of youths smashing through the shop front of JD Sports at around 4pm triggered the unrest.
There were also claims that a stop and search on a young man angered the crowd.
A 29-year-old mum of three who didn’t want to be named said: “I was at the bus stop with my kids and all of a sudden a group of people went and smashed JD Sports and looted it.
“I’m worried as I’ve got young kids and I don’t want them to go through this. People are coming here from other places. Anyone who feels afflicted by the police has come here.”
Jenny Smith, 20, said: “It all kicked off when about 50 police grabbed this boy and threw him on the floor. I think the police should have better things to do with their time.”
Other witnesses said they had seen bricks being flung.
The rioters are thought to have looted a tree surgeon’s van that had stopped on Mare Street and looted pieces of wood to use as weapons against riot officers.
Buses were unable to get through the stretch of Mare Street around Hackney Central station as police vans, cars and riot officers cordoned off the area to try and contain the rioters.
Overland trains were still running from Hackney Central station into the evening.
Brixton in south London, Enfield in the north and Walthamstow further east have also been hit by riots.
The Metropolitan Police Service told the BBC that it is putting 30 per cent more officers on the streets of London tonight to tackle the violence.